All systems go for 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifier in Manila
MANILA, Philippines – It's all systems go for the Philippines' hosting of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament from July 5 to 10.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, April 12, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manuel V. Pangilinan promised an event that the Philippines and the rest of the world would be proud of.
Pangilinan said the SBP, television network TV5, and sponsors are pulling out all the stops to surpass the hosting of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.
The Philippines is one of the last 3 roads to the Rio Olympics. In Group B, standing in the Filipinos' way are world cage powers France (ranked 5th in the world) and New Zealand (21st).
Over in Group A are Turkey (8th), Canada (26th), and Senegal (31st).
Two other qualifiers will be simultaneously held in Turin, Italy and Belgrade, Serbia. The winners from all 3 qualifiers will join the first 9 countries that already qualified for the Rio Summer Olympics this August.
Pangilinan added that naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche will be suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas and should arrive soon. But Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson, a guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, was not allowed by FIBA to join the Philippine team as they already have Blatche.
"Blatche is better suited for the team since height is a concern," explained Pangilinan. "I wanted to have both.... I tried."
Local organizing committee chief Al Panlilio also said that the SBP might tap cinemas in the provinces to show the games. Wide-screen LCD monitors could also be set up in parking lots or other venues just to accommodate fans.
"The tickets will be sold starting on April 26," added Panlilio. "There will be an allocation for local fans as well as the foreigners who will be coming over."
Gilas Pilipinas will be playing its games at 9 pm versus France on July 5, New Zealand on July 6, and Senegal on July 7. – Rappler.com